Formaldehyde in Baltic Birch Plywood?

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Forum topic by woodsandwords posted 06-18-2020 03:19 PM 3130 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 891 days

06-18-2020 03:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: baltic birch plywood formaldehyde


I am bidding out a kitchen cabinet job for a client who was questioning whether baltic birch plywood is formaldehyde free. I know this probably is dependent on the source. My local supplier carries a type that I believe is American made (and thus subject to EPA regulations). I called to ask and talked to the owner, who did not know the exact type of adhesive used in their plywood but said something along the lines of “there is formaldehyde in the wood fibers, but beyond that, no added formaldehyde.” I am taking this to mean that there is formaldehyde naturally formed in the wood itself but that the product itself falls under the “no-added-urea-formaldehyde” label.

Does this sound right? Anyone have any further experience with this? I am not personally overly concerned about it (given that I actually have used the same plywood in my own kitchen!) but want to give my client accurate information.


8 replies so far

View EugdOT's profile


333 posts in 1846 days

#1 posted 06-18-2020 03:44 PM

When I did my kitchen remodel I just ordered the cabinets and added my touches to make it more custom.
I used this site that most contractors use in my area and they have formaldehyde free plywood. All soft close and self closed hardware is Included.

I think my whole kitchen came out to $2500 with all the Trimming and touches With a big pantry and 8 foot island in the middle. I think total I got 18-19 cabinets from them and just customized it to my kitchen. Definitely cheaper than buying all that Baltic plywood and time put in. That’s just my opinion.

View shipwright's profile


8761 posts in 4089 days

#2 posted 06-18-2020 04:30 PM

Baltic birch is serious overkill for kitchen cabinets. Standard paint grade birch is way more than enough and a lot less expensive. Of course you’d still have to check for UF glue.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View JCantin's profile


185 posts in 4703 days

#3 posted 06-18-2020 05:55 PM

In 2018 EPA established new formaldehyde emissions standards and a new third party testing and certification program, in consultation with the wood products industry. The new standards vary by product category:

Hardwood Plywood – Veneer Core…. 0.05 ppm of formaldehyde
Hardwood Plywood – Composite Core… 0.05 ppm of formaldehyde
Medium-Density Fiberboard… 0.11 ppm of formaldehyde
Thin Medium-Density Fiberboard… 0.13 ppm of formaldehyde
Particleboard…. 0.09 ppm of formaldehyde

Compliant (tested) products should be labeled “TSCA Title VI compliant.”

These levels are quite low compared to what testing found in the market before the regulations.

There are manufacturers offering certified “formaldehyde free” products.

View LeeRoyMan's profile


2275 posts in 1018 days

#4 posted 06-18-2020 06:00 PM

View MrRon's profile


6217 posts in 4535 days

#5 posted 06-18-2020 06:27 PM

There is a plywood product called Araucoply, imported from Chile that is great for cabinet work. According to the spec sheet for Araucoply, the formaldehyde emissions are 0.02 mg/L.

View Redoak49's profile


5423 posts in 3280 days

#6 posted 06-18-2020 08:16 PM

I love Aruaco ply and used it for all my shop cabinets. Great quality!

View Lazyman's profile


8331 posts in 2679 days

#7 posted 06-18-2020 08:53 PM

My recollection is that amount of formaldehyde that is naturally in wood is relatively low and only comes out with high heat. High heat is used during the manufacturing process of PW to set the resin so there are some emissions during the manufacturing process. If the resin is formaldehyde free, there should be minimal emissions.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6782 posts in 3600 days

#8 posted 06-18-2020 09:35 PM

I love Aruaco ply and used it for all my shop cabinets. Great quality!

- Redoak49

AraucoPly® Sanded

ARAUCOPLY® Sanded Panels are laid up on a composed core using exterior Phenol-Formaldehyde resin for consistent quality and performance. Our face veneers are peeled from pruned logs – making AraucoPly Sanded panels among the highest graded AC products on the market today.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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